As the weather warms everyone is spending more time outdoors, including dogs and cats. Just like us, pets are at risk for attracting ticks and fleas when outside, which can pose serious health risks. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds pet owners to take precautions to protect their pets from pests when outside this season.
“The NPMA predicted an especially heavy tick season, making it all the more important that pet owners understand the dangers posed by pests and learn how to get rid of ticks and fleas says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA.
Ticks are one of the most common pet pests. Blacklegged deer ticks can spread Lyme disease to pets, which causes fever, decreased appetite, painful joints, limping and lethargy. In serious cases, kidney disease can also occur.
American dog ticks, which are larger than deer ticks, can spread Rock Mountain Spotted Fever and cause tick paralysis, which occurs when a female tick attaches near a pet's spinal cord. Tick paralysis can lead to muscle weakness, loss of coordination and in some cases, death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed.
Fleas are another common pet pest. They cause itchy, red bumps that lead to excessive scratching, anemia, dermatitis and tapeworms. Fleas can also infest a pet owner’s home when they fall off a pet onto bedding, carpets or furniture and reproduce.
The NPMA recommends these tips control ticks and fleas:
- Check pets frequently for ticks and fleas. Be aware of excessive scratching and licking.
- Avoid walking dogs in tall grass, where fleas and ticks often hide.
- Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
- Frequently wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys.
- Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently.
- If you suspect a pest problem, contact a licensed pest professional immediately.